tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC July 30, 2009 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
best in the republican party, given the vacuum at top and given that the people who are the natural leaders, say mitch mcconnell and some others, they're not necessarily tv or radio ready. >> let's do the last one for the troops, as ms. palin likes to say. does she have enough of a following to bring it back into the fold in time for 2012? >> well, i don't know about yours, richard, the people who love sarah palin and find her charismatic and she does have that "it" thing, they are passionate about sarah palin. there may not be enough of them. we opened with that poll. there aren't enough of them, perhaps, to drag her across the finish line, but she is going to be a formidable presence, because the people, there's nobody else in the republican party that stirs passions right now. she's the only one, and she's
likely now to do it, to stir those passions even more. >> and briefly, for those palin backers out there, should they be worried by those poll numbers? >> well, you know, the ones i hear from, the more she has detractors and the less well she's doing among the mainstream republicans, the better they like her. so in a sense, she's down, she's up to them. and they're going to try to drive you know -- find solace and energy from her lack of favorability and build her up so that all of us see what they see in her. >> margaret carlson of bloomberg news and "the week" magazine, many thanks. >> thanks, richard. good night. that's it for this thursday edition of "countdown." i'm richard wolffe in for keith olbermann. have a good night, everybody. our coverage continues now with "the rachel maddow show." good evening, rachel. good evening, richard. thank you for that. appreciate it.
thank you at home for staying with us the next hour. besides the most famous four beers ever consumed at the white house, today featured dramatic action by liberals in the battle over health care reform. a democratic congressman calling republicans' bluff on health care. renewed mass resistance to the government in the streets of iran, and more news about the wing nuttery, that is the birther movement. professor trisha rose, congressman anthony weiner all along tonight to discuss those stories and more. all coming up. we begin tonight with what was perhaps the most anticipated, the most hyped, the most speculated about, round of beers in recent american history. tonight at the white house, president obama welcomed the two men who found themselves at the center of a national debate about race this summer. harvard university professor henry louis gates and cambridge, massachusetts, police sergeant james crowley. the two men joined president obama and vice president biden at a small table outside the
oval office tonight to discuss the incident that brought them together. the arrest of professor gates inside his home in cambridge, massachusetts, two weeks ago. the event was held beyond ear shot of the press. reporters were kept behind a rope about 50 feet away from the festivities, but they were allowed to shoot about 30 seconds of video. we can report that president obama, as expected, drank a bud light. vice president biden enjoyed a non-alcoholic buckler beer. he says he's never taken a drink of alcohol in his life. and let's face it, frankly, this would be a weird time to start. professor gates had a sam adams light, yeah boston, and sergeant crowley drinking blue moon with a slice of orange it in, which is how the company that makes that beer suggests that you drink it. i'm just saying. white house aides tell nbc news that the interaction between sergeant crowley and professor gates was friendly and warm. they crossed paths before their
actual sitdown while they and their families were shown around the east wing. >> the professor and i encountered each other while we both on individual tours of the white house, and the professor approached me and introduced his family. i introduced my family, and then we continued on with the tour, but as a group. two families moving together, and that was the start. so it was very cordial. >> when it was time for sergeant crowley and professor gates to sit down with the president and the vice president, they headed outside with mr. biden and mr. obama while their families continued their tour over into the white house west wing. now, the gates and crowley families departed the white house a little over an hour ago. sergeant crowley held a brief press conference with reporters after the meeting was over. >> we a cordial and productive discussion today with the president, vice president and professor gates. we have all agreed it's important to look forward rather than backward. issues important to all of us will form the basis of
discussions between professor gates and me in the days and weeks to come. professor gates and i bring different perspectives to these issues and agreed that both perspectives should be addressed in an effort to provide a constructive outcome to the events of the past month. i think what we had today was two gentlemen agree to disagree on a particular issue. i don't think that we spent too much time dwelling on the past. we spent a lot of time discussing the future. what was accomplished was, this is a positive step and moving forward as opposed to reliving the events of the past couple of weeks in an effort to move not just the city of cambridge or two individuals past this event but the whole country, to move beyond this and use this as a basis of meaningful discussions for the future. >> sergeant crowley added, no apologies were given during the meeting but the men plan to meet again at some point in the near future. for his part, professor gates released a written statement about the event. it reads in part, "let me say that i thank god that i live in a country in which police
officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day. and more than ever, i've come to understand and appreciate their daily sacrifices on our behalf. i'm also grateful we live in a country where freedom of speech is a sacrosanct value, and i hope one day we can get to know each other better as we began to do at the white house this afternoon over beers with president obama. atlantic god we live in a country where speech is corrected, a country which guarantees and allows me to speak out when i believe my rights is have been violated, a country that protects us when we express our view, no matter how unpopular." the national conversation about my arrest, professor gates went on to say, has been a rowdy, not to say tumultuous and unruly. we've learned we can have differences without demonizing one another. there's reason to hope that many people emerged with greater sympathy for the daily perils of policing on one hand, and the genuine fears about racial
profiling on the other hand. the full written statement is posted, as opposed to herky-jerky reading, available at my website on rachel.msnbc.com, read it for yourself. it is considerably longer than the portion we just read. president obama himself chose not to talk to reporters after the event today. the white house release add written statement from the president. it said, "i am thankful to professor gates and sergeant crowley for joining me at the white house this evening for a friendly, thoughtful conversation. even before we sat down for the beer, i learned that the two gentlemen spent some time together listening to one another which is a testament to them about their belief that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart. i am confident that is what happened here tonight and i'm hopeful all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode." president obama announced that this meeting would take place, last week, he explained at the time he hoped the whole situation could be a teachable moment. tonight before the meeting took place the president was looking to lower expectations a bit. >> i know it has been called the
beer summit. it's a -- it's a clever term, but this is not a summit, guys. this is three folks having a -- a drink at the end of the day, and hopefully giving people an opportunity to listen to each other. and that's really all it is. these are people involved, including myself. all of whom are imperfect, and, you know, hopefully instead of getting up -- anger and hyperbole, you know, everybody can just spend a little bit of time with some self-reflection and recognizing that other people have different points of view. >> joining us now is trisha rose, a professor and chair of africana studies. at brown university. professor rose, thanks very much for joining us tonight. >> my pleasure. >> do you they a teachable
moment was the right thing for the president to try to go for here, and do you think the succeeded as a teachable moment? >> i'm not sure it was teachable moment, but the beginning of a model for speaking about hour interpersonal communication and calm exchange of ideas even when you disagree is an important strategy for moving towards perhaps some other kind of consensus, but for a real teachable moment to happen, you have to actually have data, facts, history, context and the knowledge. it can't just be personal experience and perception. so a teachable moment requires more than just personal opinion, and so, of course, you can't do that over a beer with, you know, hundreds and hundreds of cameras in a brief exchange, but as a groundwork for a larger one, yes, it's possible. >> do you think that this event and all of the attention that today's photo op and meeting brought to this event, do you think it should be followed up at the presidential level by the administration in some way in order to try to make this a more constructive experience for
the country? >> no. i don't think the white house should be at the center of that. i think we have an elaborate educational system, a system of higher education. we have departments such as mine that teach on race in the modern world and how it's been constructed and the history of it, good, bad and indifferent. and we have experts who have studied racial profiling and studied issues of injustice or discriminatory practices and lending, and housing and all kinds of things. good intentions gone awry, whatever. we have experts for that. we need to gather them. resources should be provided to do more than that. this information needs to be a part of our educational system. it shouldn't be a shock and a surprise and a personal insult that the data that supports structural forms of discrimination might still be going on. the fact that might be shocking or something we can't address, that's where we need the teachable moment. it's not really just about one professor and one sergeants. it's much bigger and our unity and our future depends on
confronting this, not terrorizing ourselves with the fear of being accused of one thing or another. >> that said, this one president really has put himself quite personally into the middle of this today. and over these last couple of weeks. after the president said that the cambridge police acted stupidly in this arrest, the reaction on the right is that they used that as an opportunity in my opinion, to race bait the president, to overtly start calling the president a racist. can the president rebut an allegation like that or is that the kind of thing you just leave in the gutter where it came from? >> you know, i think to claim an individual acted stupidly is not a racial comment. and to talk about the history of racial profiling as a potential context for an incident is not a racist thing to do. so it seems to me we might just want to let that one die on the vine.
at the same time as we challenge the ease with which any -- any criticism can be turned into race baiting when the president's black. how can it be calling an action stupid is race baiting? that doesn't mean i'm supporting what he chose to say. i don't think that was a good choice of words. i agree with many who said that, but a bad choice of words does not equal a racist comment. we don't even have enough sophistication to discern the difference. we need many more teachable moments. clearly. >> and very good teachers. >> absolutely. >> the president is considered by especially a lot of the punditocracy, he is particularly thoughtful and subtle and skilled in talking about race, and i don't know if that's because he is in absolute terms very skilled at talking about race or a very low bar set by national politicians for being able to handle this issue well.
do you think he deserves tougher scrutiny for the way he leads on race and racism or that he has been doing very, very well? >> i think it's an impossible situation. we've had, you know, 43 presidents, almost all of whom have been unable to lead in the way we're expecting him to lead on the question of race. and it's an unbelievable standard given all else the president has to deal with. i mean, we don't need to talk about health care right here. we don't need to talk about war. we could be here all night talking about all the rest of the things he really needs to do. of course that is an additional burden he has to bear, but we have an equally important burden. which is that we have to take seriously that to really address race to get us in this idea of a post-racist or post-racial inequality society, we have to deal with those details together in community with knowledge, with background, with education and civil dialogue. he can't be asked to be the leader for that. i don't think he should be held to any additionally high standards because i think the
standard are already off the chart. as this incident showed, that we needed a beer, you know, not summit commentary moment to discuss it. i mean, it's a surreal to me that this is actually taking place, quite frankly. >> and the images that we got on the screen right now showing this summit. i have to admit, are surreal. i find it surreal i'm fascinated by what different beers they drink. the whole thing. >> exactly. >> trisha rose, professor and chair of africana studies at brown university, it's really nice to have you on the show. thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> okay, republicans. how much do you hate government-run health care plans? do you hate them enough to kill medicare? hoping to force opponents of the public option in health care reform to "put up or shut up." democratic representative anthony weiner of new york today sponsored and amendment to kill medicare. go ahead. vote to kill medicare. i'm sure you're constituents will be really understanding in 2010. congressman weiner joins us next to talk about calling the
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like a battle between those that represent corporate interests and those who represent a way more populist anti-corporate line. in this health care fight conservatives have cast their lot with the assurance and pharmaceutical and other corporate medical company whose even if the u.s. health care system is failing the rest of the country, it suits those companies just fine, thank you very much. republican senator jon kyl offered this vigorous defense of the health insurance industry. >> the health insurance industry is the most regulated, one of the most regulated industries in america. they don't need to be kept honest by a competitor from the government. >> they don't need to be kept honest? they're fine. here's the main political battle line on health care reform. should the government provide some competition to the health insurance companies to try to lower costs for the people, or not, conservatives have in large numbers chosen, or not, siding with insurance companies to say everything's pretty much fine the way it is now. today liberals in congress loudly positioned themselves against that point of view
starting with the top democrat in congress, speaker of the house nancy pelosi. >> insurance companies are out there in full force, carpet bombing, shock and awe against a public option. these are initiatives that are very important in this legislation, and they are out to correct what the insurance companies have done to america. and to the health of our people over the years. >> speaker pelosi used even stronger language after that press conference telling reporters, it is somewhat immoral what they are doing. of course, there is been immoral all along how they have treated the people they insure. they are the villain in this. they have been part of the problem in a major way. the public has to know that. this attempt to make the insurance companies the corporate interest in health care system the villain in this fight, foreshadowed by president obama yesterday during a town hall event in raleigh, north carolina. >> we have a system today that works well for the insurance
industry, but it doesn't always work well for you. what we need and what we will have when we pass these reforms are health insurance consumer protections to make sure that those who have insurance are treated fairly and insurance companies are held accountable. >> unless you think it's mere coincidence that democrats are now putting the insurance companies right in the political crosshairs, standing up against the interests in washington who are aligned with those corporate interests, members of congress' progressive caucus came out in fort with a message that definitely sounds familiar to you by now. >> where is the -- for the insurance companies? >> right now it's about insurance companies and what they need. >> i don't understand what the insurers are afraid of. they're afraid of the competition. the insurers believe in the market, we believe in the market. >> private insurance companies have had decades to provide meaningful reform to our system. they have failed, and congress must now act boldly in order to
save lives. >> so that's the liberal answer to the conservative argument that the health system is fine the way it is and the insurance industry, by the way, is awesome. as for the many, many cries against a publicly funded insurance plan, democratic congressman anthony weiner of new york is all over it. congressman weiner cast himself as the health care version of clarence the angel forcing everyone in congress to think about what life would be like without a very popular, already existing publicly funded health insurance plan. congressman weiner introduced an amendment tonight that would eliminate medicare. of course, mr. weiner didn't actually want medicare to be eliminated but wanted to foster force every conservative on the house energy and commerce committee to have to go on the record with their position of the government-run health plan upon which 43 million american voters rely. in other words, really, republicans? you're against government-funded health care? care to go on the real record
with that? care to vote to kill medicare? congressman anthony weiner joins us, stepped outside the hearing room in congress to join us. congressman, thank you so much for coming on the show. >> thank you, rachel. >> how did the vote go in your amendment? >> well, for some reason i guess republicans don't like publicly funded, publicly administered health plans except for medicare and except for the veterans administration and except for the health care our military gets from the department of defense. the fact of the matter is that we learned is that government-administered health care works pretty darn well. it's got low overhead and people like it. so when my republican colleagues pound the drama and pound the podium how they hate government-run health care i guess they haven't looked what they get. >> when you are deciding about what to do with this amendment, deciding what your role was going to be in health care what you could do in this committee, did the medicare idea come to you because you knew it would be an embarrassment? did you think any republican would actually vote against medicare? >> well, i didn't. you should make note, this is the 44th anniversary of the day of the creation of medicare, but
it leads us to the next logical step where i need my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to start to come to. that is not why i have a public option but a private option at all. if we know, for example, the one experiment we have is very successful, publicly funded health care through medicare, why do we even need insurance companies? what constructive role are they playing? we know they're taking tens of billions of dollars each year and putting it into profits that should be going into health care. tomorrow i'll take the next step offering a true single care health care plan and want people to think about, maybe that's the way we do it. it's simpler and we know it's works. >> why do you think single payer hasn't been a prominent option on the table thus far in the health care debate? i think to some degree we on the left have been afraid of our own shadow and forgot one thing from the '93-94 debates about health care. people understand the things they have. they want it to be simple in the terms that they get. people understand medicare. they know their parents have it,
their grandparents or they themselves have it. they know it's efficient. it's not perfect. there are gaps that need to be filled but also know they'd much rather have government or their congressmen were be able call and make the changes than wait on a 1-800 number and go by shares of stock to influence policy. right now a cumbersome plan is hanging by the thread built on the foundation of private insurance, which a lot of people don't like. >> when you look at the opposition to moving forward on health care reform, not only just opposition to an idea like single payer but opposition to the idea significantly changing the system at all. that opposition is coming not just from republicans but from conservative democrats as well. do you think it's an ideological liberal conservative split or about the influence of the insurance industry and other industries that profit from the system being the way they are now on members of congress? >> well, invariably in rooms like the one behind me, status
quo is the most powerful force in washington. particularly true in that status quo benefit, a large industry like the insurance industry. this notion and even president obama says it sometimes. people like their insurance policy. no, they don't like their insurance policy. i don't know anyone who wakes up in the morning and says, boy, i can't wait to dial the 800 number from the insurance company. i think what people realize, though, is that frankly it's there. and the lobbyists around here work very hard to keep it there. that's a considerable force. but there is something of a right/left divide. mostly the problems in the democratic caucus come from the right side and they're getting leaned on hard and doing what they think is right. but i think it's wrong for the country. >> congressman anthony weiner of new york. bold move today in the committee. thanks for joining us to talk it. appreciate it. >> my pleasure. thank you. the other big issue energizing the right now is remarkably still birth certificates. specifically, a hawaiian one that belongs to a barack obama. that they claim they still haven't seen yet even though
it's everywhere. coming up, i'll delve into the birthers argument and try not to get too much kook on my hands. later, protests and mourning. the post election outrage in iran is not over. one of our favorite guests of the year will be here in los angeles in the studio. stay with us. of all the things made just for women, maybe this is one of the most important. new centrum ultra women's. a complete multivitamin for women. it has vitamin d which emerging science suggests... supports breast health... and more calcium for bone health. new centrum ultra women's.
congressman gets a letter asking for clarification about the wackadoodle birth certificate, and sending along an explanation of all the wackadoodle birther conspiracies there are. we have the letter. today huge demonstrations in tehran. reza aslan joins us with the latest. has anyone complimented you today? kent jones can help. you look great. that's coming you. first, time for a couple of holy mackerel stories. today saw one of the stranger moments in american journalism about our war in iraq. the "new york times" website for a large portion of the day front page in the story about a memo written by an american military adviser in iraq named colonel timothy rees who says u.s. forces should plan to come home sooner rather than later, a good idea to leave next year instead of the year after that. as the old saying goes, guests
like fish begin to smell after three days. since the signing of the 2009 security agreement, we are now guests in iraq and after six years, we now smell bad to the iraqi nose. now, roughly the same time the "new york times" was putting this on their front page, spencer ackerman of the "washington independence" and shortly after, zachary roth, talking points memo, looking into this story as well as pointing it out that the army officer who authored this memo appeared to have posted it on his personal blog. which is titled "tim the enchanter." right wing website known at town hall where the colonel also posted a rather unhinge screen health care reform that the government will start controlling all the grocery stores in america. looking at the colonel's iraq memo itself, it does seem like the kind of thing that might be more appropriate for a plake like "tim the enchanter at town hall" rather than the front page of the "new york times." "the government of iraq and the iraqi security forces will continue to squeeze the u.s. for
all the goodies that we can provide. they will tolerate us as long as they can suckle at uncle sam's bounteous mammary glands." you may be relieved to hear the head of the u.s. military force in iraq says the bounteous mammary glanded old fish smelling memo isn't actually the official stance of the united states military. just this one right wing blogger colonel's opinion, which is neat. but it's also on the front page of the "new york times"? and finally, the presidential medal of freedom is the nation's highest civilian award. recipients have traditionally been distinguished men and women contributing to the greater good in the world of sports, music, medicine, activism, diplomacy, literature, et cetera. for example, today president obama announced his administration's first 16 recipients. among them, former supreme court justice sandra day o'connor, tennis champion billie jean king. physicist stephen hawking, senator edward kennedy.
harvey milk, the first and late openly gay member of the elects official from a major city in the united states and the founder of the susan g. koman cure breast cancer foundation. and george w. bush, dare i say in contrast. recipients including former cia director george tenet who said the faulty intelligence upon the war in iraq was based was a slam dunk. also gave one to paul bremmer, the u.s. administrator during the post-invasion phase of the war that is essentially universally acknowledged to be a complete bureaucratic moral and strategic disaster. presidential medal of freedom, it's nice to have you back and no longer be ironic. ( chirp ) team three, boathouse? ( chirp ) oh yeah. his and hers. - ( crowd gasps ) - ( chirp ) van gogh? ( chirp ) even steven. - ( chirp ) mansion? - ( chirp ) good to go. ( grunts ) timber! ( chirp ) boss? what do we do with the shih-tzu?
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iran after the disputed presidential election there on june 12th. the fact it's been 40 day since the date of her killing is important symbolically and politically. in shiia muslim tradition, the dead are mourned in a cycle of three, seven, then 40 days. 40 days marks the end of the period of mourning for someone who has died, and today the end of the period of mourning for nada. it brought the iranian opposition movement back into the streets and back into the headlines the at a time when the regime against which they are protesting has never looked weaker. at the cemetery where they're buried in fresh graves police used tear gas and batons to disburse the crowds that gathered despite the government banning public displays of mourning. mir hossein mousavi's did he speet in the june 12th election attempted to join the protestors at the cemetery, but when he arrived, he was surrounded by
police and forced to leave before he could address the crowd. in the backdrop for this dramatic persistent defiant resistance in the streets of iran is, of course, the government that these protesters decry. the president ahmadinejad, due to be sworn in next week even as he has splid in some senses from the country's supreme leader and many of the senior clerics. as most of the iranian parliament wouldn't show up for his supposed victory party after declared winner. today where neigheda nada is buried, some were chanting, "nada is alive. ahmadinejad is dead."ada is bure were chanting, "nada is alive. ahmadinejad is dead." joining us, reza, contributing editor at "the daily beast" and thanks very much for joining us. nice to see you. >> thanks. welcome to los angeles or as we call it tehrangeles. >> part of the thing about being in l.a., you see, compared to the rest of the country, the disproportionate coverage of
iranian events here. >> take it seriously here. there's actually about eight or nine iranian persian satellite stations coming out of l.a. more than network tv. yeah, we take it seriously. >> i am no expert on matters januaryian or shiia muslim tradition, but am i right in terms of the symbolic importance of this being day 40 since june 20th, the day nada and others were killed? >> right. in tradition, a cycle of mourning that takes make primarily on the 40th day after the death. this was the 40th day of the death of nada but an opportunity for all of the protesters who have died and who are still in prison, for all of them to be remembered in an active religious devotion, and in many ways this was really a challenge to the regime. what the protesters were saying is that, look, we're just here to move forward on our religious obligations. if you want to stop us, it's you who's being --
>> a way to use religious doctrine to shame the government that prides itself on -- prides itself in part on its piety? >> yes. the entire ahmadinejad coalition using one to work with the legal framework of the government, so, for instance, a few days ago, former president declared we should have a referendum in iran, to once and for all decide this election. clever, because the constitution of iran actually allows for a referendum whereas in many other cases you really, your hands are tied. then now using these kinds of acts of religious devotion, again, trying to say to the regime that we are the ones who are being true to the idea of the islamic republic. you are the one betraying it. >> in that vein, a report today some of the chants today at the cemetery, i mentioned one of them. nada is alive. ahmadinejad is dead. reports protesters were chanting independence, freedom, iranian republic.
that would be a pointed contrast to the slogan from iran revolution a few years ago, independence, freedom, islamic republic. if that indeed happened, again, we can't confirm this. there are independent reporters we can call about this sort of stuff, if that is true what would that mean? >> look, there is a very large and diverse coalition forming against ahmadinejad and some of them are what we would call secularists who want to remove religion from the state altogether. those who want to work with the system to reform it little by little. there are those who feel that we, what we should do, go back to the original vision of khomeini. somehow iran moved away from that. it's not what binds what they have in common that binds this coalition together. it's what they don't want, and what they don't want is the kind of militarization of iran politics that sort of police state that ahmadinejad represents. >> in terms of ahmadinejad's strength or weakness he's due to be sworn in august 5th.
what do you think we should be looking for in terms of the strength of the opposition movement, his own strength and the future of theage i'm? >> august 5th, another massive day of protests both in iran and throughout the world. last saturday you had 100 cities around the world protesting in solidarity with iran. probably see something close to that. really what you'll see from here on out after august 5th is now ahmadinejad is in charge of this mess, and so at this point he's been sort of in this stage where he hasn't been in charge of anything, per se. now he's going to have to figure a way most importantly to get the economy back on track. protesters are very sophisticated. they're now attacking the government where it hurts, in their pocketbooks by taking money out of banks and not buying products. boycotting products that are advertised on state-run television. how you get the government to pay attention. somehow ahmadinejad la to figure thousand fix this in the mix of this whole illegitimate deal he's dealing with.
>> and any time anybody blinks people being out in the streets in open defiance of the government. >> as i've said, every time i've appeared on the show, far from over. >> reza aslan, columnist, contributing editor, excuse me, congratulations on the promotion. "the daily beast" author "how to win a cosmic war." great to see you. thank you. >> good to see. coming up on "countdown," rush limbaugh called salon.com joan walsh something that is so lame and gross i'm not going to repeat it here, but joan walsh will join "countdown" with her reaction. next on this show. the birther movement, slapped by the fly by the swatter of reality is proving to be amazingly resilient. exclusive weirdness from a congressman in pennsylvania who's about to be famous for something he really doesn't want to be famous for. coming up next. stay with us. one more thing about iran. as the u.s. tries diplomacy to curb iran's nuclear program, a
cadre of top officials, including middle east envoy george mitchell, national security advisor jones all dropped by israel for a little stop threatening iran with military action pow-wow. despite that diplomatic full court israel-iran press, "newsweek" magazine published this breathtaking suggestion. why not make george w. bush america's new middle east envoy? because -- nothing says peace in the middle east like george w. bush? i wish somebody would have warned me in advance it was going to be opposite day. i would have worn my prom dress. so now we've turned her toffee into a business. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love. robert shapiro: we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams.
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what you are about to see is a test of the emergency broadcast hysteria system. this is a test. only a test. if this were actual emergency broadcast hysteria, i wouldn't be saying the crazy shinola i'm about to say. my fellow americans, senator john mccain of arizona came with a few million votes of getting elected president the united states. even though he was not born in the united states. you feel yourself hyperventilating? do you freed to breathe into a
paper bag for a second? it's true. john mccain who came in a close second in the last presidential election was not born in the united states. he was born in the panama canal joan in 1936 while his father was stationed there with the u.s. navy. you know, panama is a different country than the united states. now, the voices stream to your brain through the metal fillings in your teeth constantly remind you and they are correct, article 2 of the constitution, in order to qualify to be president of the united states you have to be a natural born citizen. oh, my god. how can the republican party who brought us to the brink of this crisis by running john mccain for president with full knowledge of the fact that he was born outside the united states? crisis, crisis! okay. actually not a crisis. at all. test over. because when that sort of idiotic hysterical argument started bubbling up when it
became apparent john mccain might be a presidential nominee, it was democrats in congress who put a stop to it. barack obama and hillary clinton and the democratic chair of the judiciary committee and other democrats in the senate all introduced legislation declaring that the natural born citizen clause in article 2 of the constitution did include john mccain being born on that navy installation in panama. now, these folks might have been opposed to the idea of john mccain being elected president. they were all campaigning against him. barack obama was running against him, but he weren't going to let the wing nuts run-off with this tinfoil-hatted idea mccain somehow wasn't eligible to be president. fake hysterical constitutional crisis, averted. now, wouldn't it be awesome to see the republicans doing the same sort of thing right now? in reality, the number of republican members of congress signing on to the birther
legislation is growing. the latest is one from congressman at birthers is starting to become locally embarrassing to them. the houston chronicle today in an editorial lamented that five of the birthers signed on to "the whole thing is getting weirder than the tabloid stories about house cats giving birth to space allenes. it's time to say enough already." maybe oklahoma more conservative than texas, "the tulsa world" is editorializing against republican senator james inhofe who said he thinks the birthers ought to keep looking into their crazed fantasies about the president's citizenship. senator inhofe's hometown paper is having none of it. they say, "oh, senator, you could have done the right thing and dismissed this goofiness for what it is." the paper goes on to compare the
birthers to, "alien abduction believers, kennedy conspiracy adherents, big foot hunters and those who believe in the bogeyman." in florida, even as the author of the legislation bill posey says he only introduced that legislation because his constituents wanted him to the "orlando sentinel" is calling on senator posey to with draw history his ridiculous bill. roy blount who wants to be the next u.s. senator from the state of missouri is now refusing to bat this conspiracy down. telling mike star of firedog lake this week that questions of the president's citizenship are legitimate. a viewer just forwarded us a spectacularly kooky letter from tim murphy of pennsylvania.
this was nuts enough that "rachel maddow show" staff members spent the day today doing melodramatic readings of this letter to crack us up. i asked our executive producer bill wolf to read it on tape for our christmas party this year. >> people are being elected president then senator black back was plagued with questions about whether or not he is a natural-born citizen of the united states as the constitution requires. to refute these claims, the obama campaign in june 2008 released a certification of live birth stating barack obama was born in the state of hawaii in 1961 before giving birth the suits claim, president obama's mother travelled to kenya with his father but was prevented from flying back to hawaii because of late stage of her pregnancy, and therefore, gave birth in kenya. at the time his father was a kenyan citizen subject to the jurisdiction of the united kingdom, thus handing down british citizenship to the
president, while his mother was a minor at the birth, too young to confer american citizenship. moreover, critics argue he loss his citizenship when he was adopted in indonesia. as a historical matter, u.s. citizenship can be forfeited upon the undertaking of a various acts of the birth certificate in another state." >> thank you for that dramatic reading of the nonsense. an actual republican member of congress spending his actual constituents. now tim murphy does go on to say that he essentially is just keeping an eye on these developments. but he is willing to detail them at that great a length to constituents and we'll keep them informed, too. while congressman murphy is willing to mail this out to his constituents, which mike stark of firedog lake tried to ask about this on tape, congressman murphy was the one who kept
himself busy looking at pens for a really long time, intently, for, like, a lot of minutes. that was him. presumably trying to avoid getting cornered on tape. when a birther is a nonsense rose up briefly on the left against john mccain, democrats in congress decided to be the adults in the room and quashed it decisively. since the exact same nonsense has risen up on the right against barack obama, republicans? no, seriously, republicans, come on! hey smart, heard you're getting free nights from hotels.com.
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